Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

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robertk
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Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 am

I sometimes find that being mindful is an uncomfortable experience. ;)


Yes, I hate it.
++++++++++++++++++
These is part of a discussion I read.
According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling. Subsequent and preceeding mindstates could of course be with dosa and have unpleasant feeling

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:43 am

And why is this discussion in this section?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:45 am

Greetings Robert,

According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling.

In Classical Theravada can one be mindful of anger?

In Classical Theravada can anger be regarded with equanimity?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:54 am

I am currently editing the Mahāsi Sayādaw's discourse on the Cūlavedalla Sutta where he says:
In this Buddha’s dispensation, a bhikkhu reflects and yearns: “At the present time, Noble Ones are seeking refuge in the noble Dhamma. When will I be able to fully acquire this noble Dhamma?” A person who is longing for the noblest Dhamma or Arahantship for final liberation is said to be feeling sorry and dejected because of his longing for a desired thing. If a meditator expects to achieve the noble path of Arahantship within a month — or at least within two or three months — fails to achieve his objective as expected, he or she would probably reflect: “Others have attained the path, whereas I have not had a glimpse of that noble Dhamma though I have been striving hard.” As doubt arises, he or she may soliloquise: “Is there any possibility for me to attain the path?” Under such circumstances, dejection and sorrow might arise. Such a feeling of dejection (domanassa) is painful feeling rested upon by the latent tendency to aversion. However, such feelings are not that kind of dhamma that should be rejected because it has arisen dependant on the expectation to achieve the noble Dhamma.

Elsewhere, he refers to this as wholesome sorrow.

So, although domanassa is an unwholesome mental state, in this case it leads to the meditator striving harder to achieve the goal, so disappointment and dejection forms a basis for the development of wholesome mental factors leading to the attainment of the path.
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby perkele » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:11 am

Yes, I hate it.
That quote was from me.
I was joking. Should have put a smiley there maybe. But smileys make some jokes look so uncool. :sage:
I guess it's true what the Abhidhamma says, if it says so, that the citta arising at the moment of mindfulness, which takes whatever previous momentary citta as an object, whether that has been pleasent or not, cannot be unpleasent. (If you can read the Abhidhamma, then you can probably also decipher this awful sentence. :tongue:)
The moment of seeing things clearly is always pleasent. Even if the things to be seen were unpleasent at first sight. Or I'm not really able to express it. But it seems true to me.
I guess I should better not discuss Abhidhamma. :rolleye:
But I just started reading it, coincidentally. Looks interesting.
:reading:

Edit:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...

Cool... Feels encouraging. Thanks for that. :smile:

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:09 am

robertk wrote:According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling. Subsequent and preceeding mindstates could of course be with dosa and have unpleasant feeling


Yes, I think that is quite correct.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:58 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Robert,

According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling.

In Classical Theravada can one be mindful of anger?

In Classical Theravada can anger be regarded with equanimity?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi retro
Yes is the answer to both questions.

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:07 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And why is this discussion in this section?

Please move it to the appropriate forum. :smile:

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:16 pm

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And why is this discussion in this section?

Please move it to the appropriate forum. :smile:
My mistake.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby FatDaddy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:24 pm

Ben wrote:
robertk wrote:According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling. Subsequent and preceeding mindstates could of course be with dosa and have unpleasant feeling


Yes, I think that is quite correct.
kind regards,

Ben


I don't understand this. Sati can have an unpleasant sensation or state as an object. Is it refereing to sati with samatha?
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:45 pm

In the case of sati taking for example dosa, aversion , as an object, immediatly that sati arises the dosa falls away momentarily. It may come back but at the moment of sati arising it has gone. This is sometimes called tadanga nirodha, momentary cessation

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby FatDaddy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:34 pm

robertk wrote:In the case of sati taking for example dosa, aversion , as an object, immediatly that sati arises the dosa falls away momentarily. It may come back but at the moment of sati arising it has gone. This is sometimes called tadanga nirodha, momentary cessation


Maybe I am operating with an incorrect definition of sati and samatha. It seems to me you need sati (bare awarness?) and samatha (concentration?) to make dosa fall away. Does sati in this sense imply some level of absorbsion in the object? Or is it such a brief moment that I don't notice unless I am concentrated?

EDIT: I just noticed this post refers to Abidhamma, which I know little about. This may be the source of my confusion.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:46 pm

robertk wrote:In the case of sati taking for example dosa, aversion , as an object, immediatly that sati arises the dosa falls away momentarily. It may come back but at the moment of sati arising it has gone. This is sometimes called tadanga nirodha, momentary cessation

Please provide a citation in support of this, thanks.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:00 pm

robertk wrote:
I sometimes find that being mindful is an uncomfortable experience. ;)


Yes, I hate it.
++++++++++++++++++
These is part of a discussion I read.
According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling. Subsequent and preceeding mindstates could of course be with dosa and have unpleasant feeling


Robert, I was using "being mindful" above in the sense of paying attention to painful feeling. It seems again to be a question of how "sati" is defined - is there a definition in the Abiddhamma?
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:05 pm

robertk wrote:In the case of sati taking for example dosa, aversion , as an object, immediatly that sati arises the dosa falls away momentarily. It may come back but at the moment of sati arising it has gone. This is sometimes called tadanga nirodha, momentary cessation


Interesting. So does this mean that sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time? And does it mean that if one were able to maintain sati continuously, then dosa could not re-ocurr?
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:24 pm

porpoise wrote:
robertk wrote:In the case of sati taking for example dosa, aversion , as an object, immediatly that sati arises the dosa falls away momentarily. It may come back but at the moment of sati arising it has gone. This is sometimes called tadanga nirodha, momentary cessation


Interesting. So does this mean that sati and dosa cannot be present at the same time? And does it mean that if one were able to maintain sati continuously, then dosa could not re-ocurr?

Yes that is correct.
The only time when sati is continuously present for longer periods of time is during absorption in actual Jhana where the object is one of the 40 objects for Samantha. At this time there are no sense door objects there are only the uninterrupted series of Jhana cittas: hence no sound, no bodily feeling etc. that is why before the Buddha came the wise ascetics realized the danger of the sense objects, which almost invariably condition lobes or dosa of some degree, and saw Jhana as an escape. It was temporary but the best they could do.

During the development of vipassana there are processes of vitthi cittas which arise with sati and panna ( wisdom) and take actual realities as object. But this is only for very brief periods although it may become more frequent if wisdom is growing.

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:27 pm

For those of us trying to understand the view of sati being presented here, it would be helpful to have specific reference(s) in support, as per this subforum's guidelines.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:46 pm

I have certainly experianced unpleasant feelings when being mindful, or bringing mindfulness to a memory that comes up. how is this explained in the Abhidhamma?
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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:31 pm

FatDaddy wrote:
Ben wrote:
robertk wrote:According to Abhidhamma it is impossible for any mindstate associated with sati to have unpleasant feeling. It can only come with either pleasant or neutral feeling. Subsequent and preceeding mindstates could of course be with dosa and have unpleasant feeling


Yes, I think that is quite correct.
kind regards,

Ben


I don't understand this. Sati can have an unpleasant sensation or state as an object. Is it refereing to sati with samatha?


It is the object itself which is either an unpleasant sensation or associated with the unpleasant sensation - not sati.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Can Mindfulness be unpleasant?

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:34 pm

kirk5a wrote:For those of us trying to understand the view of sati being presented here, it would be helpful to have specific reference(s) in support, as per this subforum's guidelines.


Yes, I agree and apologize.
I will dig out my copy of Abhidhammattha Sanghaha (Bhikkhu Bodhi edition) a little later today.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com


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